Brussels: The contest to buy KBC’s private banking arm, put up for sale in the aftermath of the financial crisis, pits the family behind Fiat against the Hinduja conglomerate, De Tijd newspaper said.
KBC, into which the Belgian and Flemish regional governments have pumped €7 billion ($9.79 billion), in November pledged a sharp downscaling of merchant banking, the sale of private banking and a string of divestments in return for receiving state aid.
The number of bidders for KBL European Private Bankers has narrowed to Italy’s Exor, controlled by the Agnelli family and majority shareholder of the Fiat group, and Indian family-owned investment firm Hinduja, the paper reported on Monday without saying where it got the information.
It said that Brazilian banking group Safra was not likely to bid because it would probably only want to buy parts of the unit and KBC is understood to want to sell KBL in one piece.
According to press reports, private-equity firm KKR and Swiss bank Julius Baer along with several major banks including Credit Agricole, Societe Generale, Barclays and Banco Santander have already dropped out of the bidding process.
KBC declined to comment on speculation surrounding the sale of the unit.